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Under the Aztec Sun

Use paper plates and colorful Crayola® Paint and Markers to design an original sun.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. During a unit of study on the Aztecs, invite students to research the importance of the sun to the Aztec people. Find out how they were represented visually. Organize text and electronic resources for students to view on this topic. Provide time for students to share their research findings.
    2. Invite students to create a personal interpretation of the Aztec sun. Begin by drawing rays of sun with Crayola Washable Markers on two paper plates. Cut out the rays with Crayola Scissors and save the cut-out triangles.
    3. Ask students to cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Mix Crayola Washable Tempera Paint to simulate Aztec colors. Paint both the fronts and backs of the rays, including the cut-out triangles. Dry.
    4. Design sun god faces on the front of each paper plate using paint, markers, and cutout pieces. Dry paint overnight. Attach pieces with Crayola School Glue.
    5. Outline the painted features with a black marker. Glue the back sides of the plates together with a string in the middle for hanging.
    6. With a partner, students identify and discuss similarities and differences among the faces.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Aztec Empire (How'd They Do That in) by William Noble; Aztec, Inca, and Maya (DK Eyewitness Books) by Elizabeth Baquedano; The Crafts and Culture of the Aztecs (Crafts of the Ancient World) by Joann Jovinelli

    Encourage students to write a summary paragraph of the different aspects of Aztec life and present their findings to small groups of peers.

    Students may select to investigate another ancient civilization from the same area, such as the Incas or Mayans. Compare and contrast these civilizations to that of the Aztecs.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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